With almost 900 scattered islands, and a vast 5,000km coastline on both sides of the Malaysian Peninsula and along Sarawak and Sabah, Malaysia offers beach holiday destinations to suit every taste and budget.
A convenient global hub
Lying just north of the equator, Malaysia is beautifully sandwiched between Thailand and the Philippines to the north, with Singapore and Indonesia to the south. Its location makes it a convenient global hub and one of the world’s premier beach, diving and snorkelling locations, with an attractive tropical climate and extraordinary marine diversity.
Some Malay beaches are busy and buzzing with excitement, while many others are completely empty, except for the local wildlife above and below the ocean’s surface. Whether it’s chic coastal luxury you are after or an unspoilt, wilderness beach experience, Malaysia’s modern, affordable airline system means even the most remote beaches are easily within reach. And its modern, well-serviced cities, ethnically diverse culture and warm welcoming locals make it an easy and safe country to travel in for all nationalities.
Historically rich and warmly welcoming
Malaysia is a coastal nation surrounded and enriched over the centuries by the Andaman, Sula, Celebes and South China Seas, as well as the Straits of Malacca with numerous bays, coves, and both long and short stretches of beach. There is no shortage of maritime history washing along the Malaysian coast, from stories of rogue pirates, salty beachcombers and seasoned traders to sunken WWII wrecks, and in more recent times, migrants from outlying island nations.
This migration explains the diversity of cultures that have settled on Malaysia’s shores, reflected in an exciting multi-cultural cuisine, a tolerant and welcoming society, and fascinating glimpses of colourfully different lifestyles. Malaysia is also constantly adapting and responding to the tastes and preferences of its international visitors, and leading the way with the sort of green eco-tourism the beach environment is all about.
Selecting Malaysia’s Best Beaches
Malaysia has a vastly varied shoreline, from the palm shaded nature-rich islands of Sabah and Sarawak off Borneo, to the vibrant and stylish coastal resort towns facing the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca on its Peninsula.
To make the search for your ideal Malaysian beach destination simple and easy, we have carefully researched and reviewed the best of the best beaches across every federal state of Malaysia, beach by beach. Here, 15 beaches are reviewed in detail according to sound criteria and thorough inspections and surveys.
But these destination winners will only whet your appetite to visit more Malaysian beaches, to experience the extraordinary diversity of cultures, coastline, and foods Malaysia is famous for. Malaysia’s renowned fresh seafood is best enjoyed fresh from the markets at any one of hundreds of beachside restaurants, picnic spots or resorts.
The varied locations of this final winning showcase of the Best Beaches of Malaysia offer everything from eco-nature exploring, world-renowned diving and snorkelling, hassle-free relaxing and beach and resort pool swimming, to watersports and simply the opportunity to slow down and make the best of your holiday. You could find yourself mesmerised by the enormity of the universe under a star-filled night sky as a fire crackles away on a deserted beach, or luxuriating poolside with a cocktail, or fine dining at a world-class resort of pure indulgence.
Connected, convenient – yet undiscovered
What really sets Malaysia apart from some south-east Asian destinations is the freedom from any tawdry and trampled tourist traps. Malaysia suits families, couples and solo adventurers who are seeking safety and solace, with a great choice of accommodation options.
Year round, the climate is warm, the waters are warm and, best of all, the Malaysian people are warm. That’s the beauty of travel in Malaysia – you’ll feel like an honoured guest with first-class hospitality on offer wherever you go, and wherever you happen to be from. The world is waking up to the delights of Malaysia, and the 27 million Malaysian people are welcoming and curious about their international visitors, from China and India, the Gulf, Europe, Australia and beyond.
The gateway to Malaysia is one of the world’s most vibrant and truly international cities, Kuala Lumpur, with its world-class shopping, hotels, transport and facilities. From the convenient transport hub of KL, you can make the choice to fly, drive or avail yourself of many other transport options to reach the beach destination of your choice.
The low cost carrier and national icon, AirAsia, has many flights daily out of KL connecting all the best beach destinations with the new KLI2 airport. There is also a good range of smaller aircraft and landing options into all corners of the country’s coastline. Malaysia’s excellent connectivity and convenience of travel is the envy of many countries, so there’s no excuse not to explore even the most remote beach destinations.
A destination for all travellers
Malaysia’s beaches are just as alluring to backpackers or billionaires as an ideal setting to cast off their cares. Beaches don’t discriminate in this global village. With something for everyone, these elite seaside treats invite us to indulge all our senses in their seductive symphony of natural elements.
Malaysia is one of the world’s most visited countries for good reason, and its stunning beaches are a big part of that appeal. In fact, your biggest problem might be choosing where to start. In which case, we are here to help. Work your way through this comprehensive list of Malaysia’s best beaches and you will want to keep coming back for more.
So kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes and wade into Malaysia’s best beaches.